Your dog doesn’t eat, what do you do? You have options: 1) Keep trying other different brands of food until your pup will at least give them a try. 2) Give time for the stomach to settle and see if they’re hungry again in 24 hours or 3-5 days. If nothing changes, bring it back to the vet!

If your dog is not eating his food, it could be because he doesn’t like the taste. If this is the case, try adding a bit of water to his food and see if that helps. In some cases, you might need to switch foods. Read more in detail here: my dog won’t eat his food but will eat human food.

It’s possible that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. The businesses featured in this article may pay us money or provide us with things.

Even if you offer him high-quality food, your dog refuses to eat. You’re not sure why, since your other dog is a voracious eater who wolfs down the same food at every meal.

Some dog owners’ pets have always been picky eaters. Others, on the other hand, seem to develop a problem overnight.

In any event, seeing our cherished canine friends refuse to eat is really sad.

So, what exactly do you do? What tricks do you use to persuade your fussy dog to eat?

Puppy Picky Eater - Staring at bowl

Millie, an Aussie mix, is one of my current pets, and she is a finicky eater. But, thanks to one of the strategies I’ll explain below, I was able to get her to eat at each meal.

I’ll explain why a dog could choose to abandon his food in this post. I’ll also go through what you should do and how to get your picky Fido to eat.

  • It’s critical to comprehend why your dog is a picky eater. If your veterinarian says he’s not sick, you’ll need to figure out why he’s not eating. 
  • These might vary from his dislike for his meal to his bad connections with food or where he eats. Inappetence may also be caused by behavioral disorders such as stress or worry. 
  • You might attempt a variety of methods to persuade him to eat freely and pleasantly. This article discusses the reasons why dogs refuse to eat as well as how to persuade them to eat.

Why Does Your Dog Refuse to Eat?

It’s not a huge issue to skip a meal now and again. However, skipping a lot of meals might raise red flags and be risky.

Some dogs, particularly those of smaller breeds, may be less food driven than others. Other reinforcers, such as attention and praise, may be more important to them.

My Australian blend Millie is more interested in getting patted and being told what a nice dog she is than she is in eating her supper. In fact, she’ll come over for attention sometimes before she eats.

Bad Food

If a previous meal makes them sick, some dogs may refuse to eat. If a dog’s stomach is disturbed from a previous meal, he may opt to skip the next one since the negative memory persists. Or he might still be sick from the previous meal.

And some dogs will recognize when their food has gone bad and refuse to eat it. So, if the food has been left out and there’s a risk it’s gone bad, toss it away. 

Check the expiry date of the food you’re feeding and see if any recalls have occurred.

Food Is Boring

When a dog has been eating the same food for a long period, he may get bored. Consider what it would be like to eat the same meal every day for the rest of your life. 

Many food-driven canines are unconcerned as long as they are fed. Others, on the other hand, may refuse to eat.

And some diets, such as a low-calorie diet that may not have the same attractive aroma or palatability as normal food, may cause some dogs to quit eating.

Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety and worry are two major reasons why some dogs refuse to eat. Lonely dogs may become too agitated to eat. 

If another stressor is present, the same thing might happen. Some dogs may refuse to eat if they are in a stressful setting. 

A thunderstorm or pyrotechnics may be enough to keep a dog from eating. Another possibility is that something traumatic happened while the dog was eating, such as a loud noise that terrified him. And he may come to equate eating with something to be afraid of in the future. 

When left alone, many dogs with separation anxiety may refuse to eat. And other individuals will be so anxious that they would refuse to eat even while their loved ones are around.

It’s possible that a dog’s dinner dishes are put in an area with too much activity or too many stresses. Some dogs may refuse to eat if they are in a high-traffic or loud part of the home. 

Some may refuse to eat if another dog or cat is eating nearby at the same time, or even if another family creature is present.

A change in a dog’s dining environment is another reason he may refuse to eat. This might happen as a result of a transfer to a new home, a change in his eating habits, or a change in household members.

He’s stuffed!

If your dog is given too many goodies, he may become unable to eat since his hunger will be stifled. Giving him table scraps may not only satisfy his hunger, but it may also make his dog food seem less enticing than the higher-value human food.

Grazing Buffet Isn’t Included

Leaving food down all the time might result in a finicky eater. Your dog may only graze on occasion if he has a steady buffet. 

This may wreak havoc on his housetraining since you won’t be able to predict when he’ll need to defecate.

Problems with your health or your age

Another reason a dog could refuse to eat is if he or she has a health issue. The dog might be allergic to substances in his present meal or have an intolerance to them. He might also be suffering from digestive or gastrointestinal problems, such as colitis, IBD, IBS, or pancreatitis. 

If your dog has parasites, they may refuse to eat. Other dogs may be unable to eat due to a physical obstruction in their intestines caused by eating something like a sock.

Other physical causes for a dog’s refusal to eat include dental difficulties or other mouth-related discomfort caused by disorders with his teeth, gums, or tongue.

A dog may refuse to eat if he is in pain, which may be caused by illness, injury, tumors, joint discomfort, arthritis, or spinal problems. 

Internal organ problems, such as those affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, or lungs, might also cause a dog to stop eating.

A dog may also get unwell and refuse to eat as a result of the negative effects of recent immunizations.

A medical appointment is required if you notice any unexpected changes in your dog, such as a change in his coat or weight loss. 

There might be an underlying medical problem. A healthy dog may be finicky, but he will not go hungry. 

If your dog has enough fat covering his ribs and is generally healthy following a medical examination, he’ll be alright after your vet has cleared him of any health issues.

Some dogs may refuse to eat as a result of ingesting poison.

Even a healthy elderly dog’s sense of smell and taste may be impaired, causing him to refuse to eat.

Food Bowls That Aren’t Fit For Human Consumption

If the dishes you’re using aren’t conducive to eating, your dog may refuse to eat. Some dogs, such as brachycephalic canines with short muzzles, may find it difficult to eat from a dish with high edges.

Pekingese, Shih Tzus, French bulldogs, Old English bulldogs, and Lhasa apsos are all susceptible to this.

My Shih Tzus and Lhasa apsos are fed in bowls with a very flat, low-edge rim so that the rim doesn’t strike their eyes. This allowed them to devour their meal happily and without difficulty.

Also, if a dog’s food dish rolls around the floor as he eats, he may refuse to eat.

In any event, make sure your dog isn’t dehydrated by making sure he drinks enough water. Contact your veterinarian if he spends a day without drinking water.

Tricks and Methods for Getting Your Picky Eater to Eat

When your dog refuses to eat, it may be incredibly frustrating–and even frightening. Dogs may spend three to five days without eating if they don’t eat. However, after two days, a trip to the veterinarian may be necessary.

Even if physical issues have been checked out, there are still techniques to convince your finicky eater to devour his meal.

Physical issues should be ruled out.

This is particularly true if your picky eater suddenly loses interest in eating. His inappetence might be due to a physical issue. 

This is especially true if your dog exhibits any physical changes, such as vomiting, scooting, lethargy, limping, or any other sign of discomfort.

Whether your dog develops an allergy, your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing or an elimination diet to see if a food item is the source of the problem.

Some dogs eat whenever they want.

A tiny percentage of domestic dogs may eat whenever they choose, rather than on the timetable we set for them. Canines in the wild do not eat twice a day. The great majority of dogs, on the other hand, can adapt to a food plan that we provide for them.

Make His Food Look More Attractive

If your dog’s meal has gotten monotonous, you may spice it up by adding some delectable morsels. 

You may mix in some sweets with the meal. Adding some canned food to his diet will help to spice it up. 

Adding a splash of warm water to his meal or gently warming it may improve the fragrance and flavor, making it more appealing. Alternatively, bone broth, low-sodium meat or vegetable broth may be used.

Warming the meal makes it smell more delicious and releases a powerful scent. Of course, if you’re using metal dishes and just need to reheat the meal slightly, don’t use the microwave. The meal should be slightly warm, not hot.

Meal toppers are also available that are meant to entice your dog back to his food.

Meal Preparation

Keeping track of when your dog consumes his food might help some dogs eat more efficiently. Pick up his meal after 15 to 30 minutes to avoid becoming a finicky eater. 

Some dogs will discover that they need to eat when their food is placed down or they will be hungry until the next planned meal if they realize they can’t casually graze now and then.

Maintain a Relaxed Eating Atmosphere

Make sure your dog’s meals are served in a peaceful, out-of-the-way place with no unwanted distractions or excitement. This might entail keeping other pets away from his food as well as humans and sounds. 

After all, you wouldn’t want to eat while stuck in traffic or while someone is gazing at you–or attempting to devour your food.

Adapt His Diet

If your dog is bored, it might be as easy as switching his diet. You may be able to get a sample of a meal from a manufacturer to test whether your dog like it. 

It’s possible that a cuisine with greater aroma and taste will accomplish the job. Some puppies are drawn to meals that include fish as a protein source. 

If you decide to switch your dog’s food, do it over a 10-day period. For the first three days, you may combine 25% of the new meal with 75% of his existing diet. 

Then, on days four through six, 50 percent of the old diet and 50 percent of the new meal would be served. On days seven through nine, 25% of the old food would be replaced with 75% of the new food. 

On the tenth day, all of the new food would be consumed.

Some dogs enjoy a certain texture, such as one that is sauced or broth-covered, moist, or semi-wet. 

Some individuals even begin feeding a rotation diet, in which they give one meal for three days, then another for three days, and so on. Before trying such a diet, I recommend consulting with a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. 

You want to be sure your dog is receiving the right nutrients and that it won’t upset his stomach in the process.

If your veterinarian discovers any form of food intolerance or if you have health issues, you may need to adjust your diet. In certain cases, prescription food is required.

If your dog is on a diet, you may need to switch to a higher-quality, more appealing food. Of course, if your dog is on any diet that your veterinarian advises, including prescription foods, consult with him or her before making any changes.

If provided wet or canned food, some dogs may be enticed to eat on a regular basis. Naturally, you want to eat high-quality cuisine. 

Consider how much your dog would need to consume to be healthy while making the move to these meals. A dog can usually consume a considerably less amount of dry kibble than he can of wet or canned food. 

This typically indicates that feeding wet or canned food is more expensive than feeding dry food. It may not seem like much if you have a tiny dog, but feeding a big dog may quickly add up.

Of course, the manufacturer’s feeding recommendations are just that. Feeding amounts should be adjusted based on your dog’s size, activity level, age, and health. 

Remove the Snacks

Cutting less on rewards or eliminating table scraps may be all it takes to get your dog to eat more. Either one might make your dog so full that he doesn’t want to eat his normal meals.

Feeding Amounts Should Be Adjusted

Because he is overfed, a dog may refuse to eat at some meals. Manufacturers’ recommendations are, after all, just that–guidelines. 

As a result, make sure your dog is eating the right quantity of food for his breed, size, level of activity, and age.

Exercising Your Dog

A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise may not have a big appetite. Our dogs may have a greater hunger after exercise, just like humans do. 

So go for a stroll with your dog. Play a game of fetch. Train your dog to obey you. 

His appetite may improve if his body and mind are both exercised. We gain from the exercise and bonding with our dog as well. 

Allow as least 15 minutes for your dog’s stomach to settle after he exercises before feeding him.

Pick up the Buffet of Food

If you put food down and your dog doesn’t eat it, it’s a sign that something is wrong. After 15 to 30 minutes, pick it up. If the meal is wet, it has likely rotted and should be discarded. 

Even dry food should not be given to the dog again, particularly if it has been nibbled at and wet.

Make It Look Like You’re Eating His Food

Another method for getting certain dogs to eat is to pretend to consume the food while proclaiming how delicious it is. 

Of course, if your dog is a verified finicky eater, this ruse will most likely fail in the long term.

Play with Puzzle Toys

Making feeding more entertaining by using puzzle toys or snuffle mats will occasionally encourage him to consume his food. It’s possible that scavenging for food will suffice.

Make careful to just use dry items in them, since wet foods won’t function well in most of them.

Raise His Plates 

For dogs that have physical issues, such as joint discomfort. Raising a bowl to a less physically demanding height might encourage a dog to eat. 

This may happen to dogs that have particular injuries or who are elderly. You may talk to your veterinarian about it. 

You may either buy bowls with higher platforms or just acquire a non-slip foundation for the do’s bowl. 

I have a bought bowl on a properly elevated pedestal for my golden retriever Riley. 

I have a fairly sturdy plastic dog dish with a rim that, when inverted, keeps their usual stainless steel dishes in place for my other dogs.

Provide unique bowls

Provide an appropriately-sized dish with low sides if your dog need specific bowls to eat, like brachycephalic dogs with short muzzles do. 

My Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos ate out of dishes that were rather broad and had low edges so they could easily gobble down their kibble.

Additionally, non-sliding bowls may inspire certain dogs to eat if their existing bowls are sluggish. They may be in a holder or have a rubber base.

The Influence of Praise

Even encouraging your dog to eat and rewarding him when he does so will help him finish his meals. I complimented Millie, my picky dog, when she ate. 

But, in order to encourage her to eat at each meal, I had to add a broth to her usual diet. I created a soup from of some canned pate food that I used to dispense tablets to an elderly dog. 

This cured the issue without requiring a change in diet. Of course, when she got really finicky, I had her physically checked out. 

There was no physical issue at all. She just eats the kibble with the soup on top.

What Not to Do: This Is Not Something You Should Try at Home

There are a few things you should avoid doing in order to persuade your dog to eat. If you try to discipline him for not eating, it may lead to a slew of additional issues, including a genuine distaste to food. 

Of course, you should never discipline a dog physically. There are more effective approaches.

Also, avoid forcing food on your dog. If you physically force him to eat, he will most likely refuse. 

And it’s possible that you’ll develop an even stronger aversion to food as a result. Any kind of coercion may lead to scared or violent conduct.


What can I do to get my fussy eater to eat?

After you’ve made sure he’s in good health, attempt the following: Feed him on a regular basis, but don’t leave food available all of the time. Stop offering him cookies and crumbs from the table. Ensure that he is fed in a calm, peaceful setting.

Is my dog being obstinate when he refuses to eat?

Dogs aren’t obstinate. There’s a reason why a dog doesn’t eat. It’s possible that there’s a medical or behavioral issue. Or he may just refuse to consume the meal that has been served to him. So figure out why he doesn’t want to eat so you can encourage him to do so.

Should I take my dog’s food away if he refuses to eat?

You may give it a go. Leave the meal for 15 to 30 minutes before picking it up. Leaving food on the table might result in a finicky eater. Make sure his food is fresh and not stale when you set it down again. If he doesn’t eat after a few meals, you need to figure out why he isn’t eating and fix it.

Will a dog starve himself to death on purpose?

Dogs have a natural survival instinct that prevents them from doing so. However, he may be unable to eat due to a variety of factors. If he hasn’t eaten in a while, get him checked out by a veterinarian to ensure there isn’t a medical condition.

Last Thoughts

When your dog refuses to eat, it’s very aggravating, especially if you’ve had other dogs that devour their food. However, if you go to the source of the issue, you can generally fix it. 

A dog may simply dislike or get bored with the food he is eating. Or he might be fed an excessive amount of food, snacks, or table scraps. 

It’s possible that environmental factors, such as where he’s dining, are to blame for his unwillingness to eat. His inappetence might also be due to a medical or behavioral issue. 

Once you’ve figured out why he’s not eating, you may attempt a variety of approaches to get him to eat more. Changes in his diet, changes in where he eats, and even making his meal more enticing are all possibilities.

So, how about you?

Do you have a fussy eater on your hands?

What can you do to persuade him or her to eat?

In the comments area below, tell us about your dog.


Watch This Video-

The “my dog is a picky eater what can i do” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question, is that you should try to find out why your dog won’t eat certain things. If the reason for their refusal to eat something is because it’s too hot or cold, then you should make sure they don’t get too much of that thing and they need more water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you force a picky dog to eat?

A: The best way to force a picky dog to eat is by offering it food that the dog has never tasted before. If you offer your pet something they have already tried, this will make them less likely to want more of what they are currently being given and be willing do try new things.

How long will a picky dog go without eating?

What do you feed a dog that refuses to eat?

A: We recommend trying a few different things and switching up your routine. A good place to start is with commercially available dog food, which varies in price depending on the type of products. Alternatively, you can make yourself some homemade dog food by mixing together dry ingredients like ground chicken or brown rice mixed with canned pumpkin for moisture content.

Related Tags

  • dog won’t eat kibble anymore
  • how to make a picky dog eat
  • dog breeds that are picky eaters
  • best dog food for picky eaters 2020
  • 6 month old puppy picky eater
You May Also Like

Ages and Growth Stages of Puppy Development — A Week By Week Guide

There are 4 major stages in the life of a dog, and…

What Are the Largest Cat Breeds?

There are many different types of cats, from the short-haired Persian to…

Why Does My Whole House Smell Like Cat Urine?

Cats are some of the most popular pets in America, but they…

Prosthetic for Three-Legged Cat

A South Korean cat’s owner is looking to create a prosthetic for…